The Punjab Rice Millers Association on Wednesday threatened an agitation if the 'arbitrary' order to construct storage sheds was not withdrawn.
Tarsem Saini, president of the association, has condemned the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) for forcing millers to build these sheds. "It is not possible for the millers to invest in such high-cost sheds," said Saini.
He claimed that the rice milling industry in the state was already reeling under financial crisis due to the faulty policies of the Food Corporation of India (FCI).
"The PPCB has sprinkled salt on the wounds of the industry by issuing a circular to construct 10-foot-high godowns for the collection of paddy husk outside the machinery room," said Saini.
Presently, the paddy husk is collected on the walled mill premises, which are located outside the municipal limits and away from habitable areas.
Saini said the PPCB had issued public notices and convened field meetings asking millers to erect the specified godowns, or face consequences.
"Each such unit would cost Rs 20-30 lakh, depending upon the milling capacity. Millers just cannot afford to invest such a big amount on godowns," said Saini.
He claimed that there was no complaint of any spillage of paddy husk in the state. "As far as dust is concerned, air pollution control devices designed by the science and technology department and approved by the PPCB are already installed on the mill premises," said Saini.
The executive body of the association has now decided to present their case before Punjab food and supplies minister Adesh Partap Singh Kairon. "The association would also approach the chief minister for withdrawal of these undue instructions," said Saini.